May 1, 2022

Playful Biggs Killer Whales and Rowdy Steller Sea Lions Off Lopez

Maxx K. | M/V Kestrel | 05/01/2022 | 1:30pm

    Today was kinda perfect. Before we even began suiting up a group of Killer Whales had been picked up in the Juan de Fuca and were angled straight up towards the San Juans. We hadn’t even touched water and it was already shaping up to be a great day!

    We stopped first at Goose Island and scoped out the Glaucus Gulls, Double Crested and Pelagic Cormorants that rested on the rocks steep sides. 

    We continued onward and it didn’t take long to find the two families of whales: the T075Bs and the T065Bs. Now, I’m obsessed with the T065Bs. This was the same little family Captian Brian and I saw take down the bull Steller Sea Lion about two weeks earlier. It’s made up of mom, T065B (“Chunk”) and her two children, T065B1 (“Birdsall”) and T065B2 (“Nettle”). She was joined by the T075Bs, another small family led by T075B (“Pebbles”). I’d never met this crew before so needless to say I was stoked. 

    The two families moved in a tight group, rolling over one another, likely just socializing. Every now and again we would be treated to a spy hop or tail slap! They traveled eastward along Lopez’s southern shores and out toward the Rosario Strait. We traveled alongside them for a few more moments before turning westward to further explore some of the smaller islands and see what other cool bits of wildlife we could find! 

    We found several bald eagles and eventually landed at Whale Rocks to chill with some rowdy steller sea lions. The sea churned below us, the rising tide and incoming flood causing a chaotic spinning sea in Cattle Pass. All my senses were activated here: the sound of stellers roaring at one another coupled with dizziness that accompanied the churning seas and invasive stench of the pinnipeds that sat atop the islands in front of us.

    Soon enough we were back in Friday Harbor, polishing off another lovely day out on the Salish Sea!